Before I get into the article, I want to acknowledge Police Officer Rob Verber who is the Community Relations/Crime Prevention Officer and Honor Guard Liaison for the Westchester Police Department in Westchester, IL. It is his research that he is so willing to share that makes up this article.
This is covered in Public Law 106-65, Section 381.
Updated 29 November 2022
The Army Donations Program for an Honor Guard Firing Party
Law enforcement agencies (LEA) and veteran organizations use the same request.
Officer Verber and I shared a good email conversation and the following is what he provided to me.
My reason for posting the information is in an attempt to demystify as to how a law enforcement agency (LEA) obtains the free rifles. This could be, “Obtaining Ceremonial Rifles 101”.
Obtaining Ceremonial Rifles 101
During the course of the research I found outstanding information on the refinishing of rifle stocks if need be, the proper care and maintenance of those equipped to fire blank rounds in addition to the proper blank rounds to fire, etc. Much of this can be found on YouTube.
- How to modify an M1 to fire blanks (a Firing Party may not want to do this)
- M1 Garand Maintenance Videos (playlist in four parts)
More importantly I found that even a rifle modified to fire blank rounds needs just as much care and respect as one that fires live rounds. Bottom line a functioning ceremonial rifle should NEVER be fired in the direction of those attending an event. The BFA’s on those have the potential to loosen and if not properly cared for and periodically checked/properly re-mounted can ultimately become a projectile.
Required documentation. I have DOC and PDF versions just in case. With the PDF version, download, open, copy the text and paste it into a word processing program to manipulate it.
- Certificate of Compliance PDF
- Certificate of Compliance DOC
- Certificate of Arms Storage PDF
- Certificate of Arms Storage DOC
- Qualification Checklist for LEA Ceremonial Rifles PDF
- Qualification Checklist for LEA Ceremonial Rifles DOC
- Letter to Chief PDF
- Letter to Chief DOC
The documents can simply be completed, printed and sent to the Warren, MI. address for the initial rifle request. This in turn is followed up by an e-mail from TACOM:
Good afternoon Ofc. Verber,
This correspondence is in reference to your emailed request on behalf of the Westchester Police Department for information as to how to obtain United States Army owned rifles through the Army Donations Program for your honor guard to use for ceremonial purposes.
Attached is the checklist outlining the items to be completed along with the specified forms. These require completion by the highest ranking official (Chief of Police) for the organization. Please note that the first requirement on the checklist is a written request from the Chief of Police. All legal documents must have original signatures and notary.
e ceremonial rifle program is conducted by the US Army Ceremonial Rifle Program located in Warren, Michigan. This program is conducted in accordance with Title 10, United States Code 4683 as implemented by Army Regulation 700-131. The Secretary of the Army may conditionally lend or donate not more than 15 excess M1 Garand rifles to eligible organizations. The number of rifles may not exceed the number of Honor Guard Members plus one. For example, if there are 20 Honor Guard members, the total number of rifles allowed is 15, but if there are 5 members, the maximum number allowed is 6.
Allow 4-6 weeks before your request to cycle through the Army Donations Program and 6-9 months before you receive the rifles.
The only rifle available for ceremonial use is the M1 Garand (equipped with blank firing adapters), which is issued conditionally. The weapon remains the property of the United States Government and cannot be loaned, sold, transferred, or given to anyone else.
Mail the completed package to:
US Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command
Attn: AMSTA-LCL-IWD, M/S: 419D
6501 E. 11 Mile Road
Warren, Michigan 48397-5000
Obtaining Blank Ammunition
Issue of Cartridge Caliber .30 Blank and Clips
NOTE: Only authorized organizations that have been issued weapons through the Ceremonial Rifle Program at the US Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren, MI are authorized to order and receive blank ammunition and/or clips. If you have privately owned weapons or borrow weapons from another organization, your organization is not eligible to receive blank ammunition and/or clips through this program.
For authorized law enforcement agencies forms are sent to the department. For authorized veteran organizations, forms are sent to the following officer’s residential address:
- Officer of AL = Commander or Adjutant
- Officer of VFW = Commander, Quartermaster, or Adjutant
- Officer of DAV = Commander or Adjutant
- Officer of MCL = Commandant, Sr. Vice Commandant or Adjutant/Paymaster
- Officer of AMVETS = Commander, 1st Vice Commander or Adjutant
Your request for forms to order blank ammunition and/or clips can be by letter, fax, phone call, or email. A new form needs to be requested each time you need to order blank ammunition and/or clips.
Request for forms must provide the current post officer’s name (as listed above), home mailing address, and phone number, post designation, post number, and the city/state where the post is located, and an email address if you have one. Forms are sent to the residence of the officer and not to the post.
Address your request for issue of AMSJM Form 725-2/AMSJM Form 725-1 to:
Commander US Army Joint Munitions Command
ATTN: AMSJM-CDS 1
Rock Island Arsenal
Rock Island, IL 61299-6000
Phone: (877) 233-2515
Request shipment of ammunition be to a residential address of an officer or other individual, not to the post or department. For LEAs, the address is the HQ where the ammunition and rifles are stored.
Ammunition is sent 1,240 rounds (2 metal cans in a wooden box). Quantity is limited to 2 boxes (2,480 rounds). Clips are sent in multiples of 25.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY/CHECKS. AMMUNITION AND CLIPS ARE PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE (NO SHIPPING AND HANDLING). ALL CHECKS/MONEY WILL BE RETURNED.
Allow 6-8 weeks delivery after Rock Island receives and processes your order. You will receive notification by letter of the tentative ship out date of your ammunition order.
All ammunition will be shipped via Federal Express (FEDEX) from Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, Independence, MO. Normal FEDEX delivery will be Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. A signature is required when delivered.
Blanks for Non-Army Program Rifles
The Western Stage Props Website is the perfect place to obtain blank ammunition. After calling the company and asking if they sell blank rounds to honor guard units that fire the ceremonial Three-Volley Salute (it’s not the 21-Gun Salute), I was told they are very familiar with and sell blanks to honor guard units all across the country.
Ammunition & Accouterments Information
Slings, cleaning kits, replacement M1 Garand blank firing adapters, repair parts, cartridge belts and bayonets are not provided through the Donations Program Group. They must be obtained through commercial sources. Two known sources are:
P.O. Box 1457
Englewood, FL 34295
Telephone number (941) 475-2020
8725 Bollman Place #1
Savage, MD 20763
Telephone number (800) 878-9485
The U.S. Army does not endorse any specific commercial source for rifle accouterments. Blank ammunition is provided only to authorized organizations who are in possession of and use U.S. Army issued ceremonial rifles. Organizations who use privately owned weapons or weapons obtained from another source are not authorized to receive ammunition from the U.S. Army. Send requests for blank ammunition and clips to:
Commander U.S. Army Operations Support Command
One Rock Island Arsenal
Rock Island, IL 61299-6000
Phone: (877) 233-2515
Where can my Veteran Service Organization have rifles repaired?
Veterans groups and LEAs are responsible for the maintenance and accountability of the rifles they are issued from TACOM. For repair, an organization may contact any local gun dealer. Organizations are responsible for the cost to repair rifles they have been issued. If a gun dealer determines a rifle to be unsafe or beyond repair the veterans organization should then contact TACOM for further guidance.
The Army National Guard’s Maintenance Facility at Camp Douglas, WI is another source that organization can contact for repair of rifles. Rifles must be dropped off and repairs will be conducted on a first come basis and when time permits. All labor to repair weapons is free, but parts must be purchased by the organization. For more information or to coordinate repair of rifles by the Army National Guard contact them at (608) 427-7334.